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San Diego County Cache Critters


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Saturday, 30 January 2010

 

One of several migratory Ferruginous Hawks (Buteo regalis) spotted yesterday overhead and stalking on the ground near Eagles and Hawks over the Grasslands GC1X8ND. Some B. regalis are dark morph adults but most are light, like this one.

 

I was out here for the weekly "Hawk Watch" organized by the Wildlife Research Institute. In addition to Ferruginous Hawks, using spotting scopes we saw two Golden Eagles, multiple Red-tailed Hawks, and a Burrowing Owl, not to mention dozens of TVs.

 

Ferruginous overflight

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Edited by Team Gecko
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Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)

 

Visits to Famosa Slough have always left me perplexed. Kiosks are well supplied and reports of great birding experiences abound. Short, muddy trails are ringed with ropes and countless re-vegetation signs. Today, I took a loop trail that ended abruptly so I doubled-back for a bonus find (without a GPSr) in the Famosa Series. No luck there, so I made my way over to a bench. As I sat and pondered why this place is so popular, a Hummingbird was flying back and forth, chirping loudly in the trees behind me. I walked forward to pick up a feather, and as I stooped down, it zoomed past in a territorial display. While I was re-positioning to get a shot of it through the limbs, I notice a nest inches from my face! I’d never have found this well camouflaged container on my own. I was so surprised I almost forgot to check inside.

 

Anna’s Hummingbird lays one to three eggs in a cup nest of stems, plant down, and feathers, bound with spider-webs, and placed on a level twig. There is an incubation average of 16 days by the female. Young fledge 18 to 23 days after hatching and are cared for by the female one to two weeks after fledging. Stay tuned :D

 

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Can you spot the nest above?

 

e4d9bf0a-bba1-4a8f-a3e9-0b7b553394a7.jpg

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Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)

 

Visits to Famosa Slough have always left me perplexed. Kiosks are well supplied and reports of great birding experiences abound. Short, muddy trails are ringed with ropes and countless re-vegetation signs. Today, I took a loop trail that ended abruptly so I doubled-back for a bonus find (without a GPSr) in the Famosa Series. No luck there, so I made my way over to a bench. As I sat and pondered why this place is so popular, a Hummingbird was flying back and forth, chirping loudly in the trees behind me. I walked forward to pick up a feather, and as I stooped down, it zoomed past in a territorial display. While I was re-positioning to get a shot of it through the limbs, I notice a nest inches from my face! I’d never have found this well camouflaged container on my own. I was so surprised I almost forgot to check inside.

 

Anna’s Hummingbird lays one to three eggs in a cup nest of stems, plant down, and feathers, bound with spider-webs, and placed on a level twig. There is an incubation average of 16 days by the female. Young fledge 18 to 23 days after hatching and are cared for by the female one to two weeks after fledging. Stay tuned :D

 

f19a9f3d-3ec6-426c-aa5a-dd3530e9f4e1.jpg

 

2f69145b-d0fa-4bb4-86ed-60b72af90286.jpg

 

8ea874c9-5eb8-45d4-89fb-a77ee8fb9c8f.jpg

 

8108a605-e465-4abd-850a-3e967ccbe14f.jpg

Can you spot the nest above?

 

e4d9bf0a-bba1-4a8f-a3e9-0b7b553394a7.jpg

Travelita,

 

That feather you picked up, put it in your cap as a reward

for being so observant and patient. Nice work.

 

The Cache Critter shots that you and Gecko Dad post are

about the only thing left of what once was lively social

interplay on our local Geocachng threads.

Edited by SD Rowdies
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Ha. Talking and driving at the same time is just about the limit for me!

Just getting a few pics on my lunch break here and there.

 

D!

 

Bird pic of the day...

 

Blue Heron

 

 

Click image for a larger pic...

GREAT pics, D!! Keep 'em coming!! Are you taking all these shots from your bus?!? :lol:

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Ha. Talking and driving at the same time is just about the limit for me!

Just getting a few pics on my lunch break here and there.

 

D!

 

Bird pic of the day...

 

Blue Heron

 

 

Click image for a larger pic...

GREAT pics, D!! Keep 'em coming!! Are you taking all these shots from your bus?!? :D

c1dd57da-331e-4a72-aac6-1322887bc40b.jpg

 

Took me fore-e-v-e-r to find this old shot.

Originally posted October 6, 2006

Edited by SD Rowdies
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Team Monkeyboy-

Very nice to see a new species posted to the Critter page. Thanks for sharing your photo.

 

Where was this Black Rat Snake discovered? Information about the closest GC your were near would be appreciated. They aren't indigenous to California. The Texas Ratsnake (Pantherophis obsoletus) looks similar to your specimen but they live on the western prairie quite a bit east of here (i.e. Kansas). There is another Eastern species, the Black Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta) encountered in the eastern U.S. If local, this is a real mystery.

-Gecko Dad

 

Update 12/1/2009: I see from Team Monkeyboy's profile/found caches that this critter probably hails from Ohio.

 

My sincere apologies... I didn't realize that the forum was area-specific. I see now that it's for "San Diego County"... I was originally linked from an outside website.

 

Yes, the black rat snake was spotted in Ohio....

 

Feel free to delete the previous posts and this reply, again with my apology.

 

PS - BEAUTIFUL pictures!!!

Edited by Team Monkeyboy
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Wednesday, 3/3/2010

The Robb Field Osprey pair has been sharing egg watch on the nest for several weeks now and we might be in for some hatchlings before the end of the month. Here is a photo from back in December when they were still working on the nest.

 

(12/15/2009) Male on left, female on right

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(12/24/2009) Male showing extraordinarily long legs

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Two weeks ago, they were taking turns sitting on eggs and time-sharing fish.

 

(2/17/2010) Male just returned for a fish hand-off and female is leaving for a recess snack

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Rather than continuing to fill up the critter page, I am maintaining an online collection from this season on my Flickr pages.

 

-GD

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I know that this is a critters forum but I wonder if anyone knows what flowers these are. We saw them while caching above Santee Lakes. 7ed630ce-24fd-489a-b45e-c83d19801b3e.jpg

 

839b962a-830c-47e9-a514-dd1d9a7ea5b0.jpg

 

Cache was Lake No. 5 GC1CYGA

TIA

 

Jane

c1350f68-2a20-45aa-b345-cca75035e718.jpg

 

Chocolate Lily (Fritillaria biflora Lindley var. biflora.)

 

See also GC118VK in west MTRP near Clairemont Mesa Blvd. trailhead.

Edited by SD Rowdies
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Thank you! It may be a while before we (thirsty ladies) get over there at this rate but I'll remember to look out for them. I guessed fritillaria as we have a purple version in the uk but could not spell it!! googled lily but too many choices! Did not notice the smell!

 

Jane

Edited by Silver Horde
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Thank you! It may be a while before we (thirsty ladies) get over there at this rate but I'll remember to look out for them. I guessed fritillaria as we have a purple version in the uk but could not spell it!! googled lily but too many choices! Did not notice the smell!

 

Jane

Google or Bing for "Chocolate Lily" and you should get many

responses, one instance below. There's coverage on Wikipedia

as well.

 

Chocolate Lily images

 

Delightful plant and it surprised me to find them in MTRP and

now your find in Santee. Should be a great year for wildflowers

and wildlife. One of our best wildflower hikes is the section of

Pacific Crest Trail starting at Kitchen Creek Road crossing and

then northward toward Cibetts Flat Campground. Of course the

flowering events are spread through from spring until autumn

so it's easy to miss some varieties.

 

Lots of rain means lots of critters and so lots of snakes. Good

year for photography I'll bet.

Edited by SD Rowdies
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I've had encounters with five snakes in six days.

 

1st up was last Wednesday at the Band-Aid cache. The pic is small, but the rattler was huge and mean. It have very distinctive black/white tail tip before a 5-6 segment rattle.

2cbdb1a4-9044-4793-b461-7cfe7019206b.jpg

 

 

On Thursday, almost stepped on this sleepyhead at a Travelers cache in Lake Poway.

c6976736-de2a-4e7a-a7d4-d4eddb35c9d0.jpg

 

Same day up the hill at RS-Lake View #2 was this baby rattle basking in the sun.

ea26e373-5968-4f6d-89b5-76651aab6ad4.jpg

 

 

Today I met two non-venomous snakes at Minnewawa Trl behind Thousand Oaks. This one was about 4-5 feet long and it hissed at me when I touched it's tail with my hiking stick. Was only able to take a pic of the heine end.

7ca767ab-48d1-4df0-b9cd-2e208958dda0.jpg

 

 

This little guy was on the road and I tapped it get it going.

cf868b28-d7c3-4dd1-9154-5dbdd98eeb1e.jpg

 

 

Also, on Thursday, I picked off over 40 ticks in Perfect Sunrise area between Iron Mtn and Dos Picos. Yes, I forgot to DEET myself. :D

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I've had encounters with five snakes in six days.

 

1st up was last Wednesday at the Band-Aid cache. The pic is small, but the rattler was huge and mean. It have very distinctive black/white tail tip before a 5-6 segment rattle.

2cbdb1a4-9044-4793-b461-7cfe7019206b.jpg

 

 

On Thursday, almost stepped on this sleepyhead at a Travelers cache in Lake Poway.

c6976736-de2a-4e7a-a7d4-d4eddb35c9d0.jpg

 

Same day up the hill at RS-Lake View #2 was this baby rattle basking in the sun.

ea26e373-5968-4f6d-89b5-76651aab6ad4.jpg

 

 

Today I met two non-venomous snakes at Minnewawa Trl behind Thousand Oaks. This one was about 4-5 feet long and it hissed at me when I touched it's tail with my hiking stick. Was only able to take a pic of the heine end.

7ca767ab-48d1-4df0-b9cd-2e208958dda0.jpg

 

 

This little guy was on the road and I tapped it get it going.

cf868b28-d7c3-4dd1-9154-5dbdd98eeb1e.jpg

 

 

Also, on Thursday, I picked off over 40 ticks in Perfect Sunrise area between Iron Mtn and Dos Picos. Yes, I forgot to DEET myself. :blink:

Ah yes, as predicted ...

rain = seeds and feed,

seeds and feed = critters,

critters = snakes.

 

Already a great year for snakes

and, by the way, for poison oak.

Edited by SD Rowdies
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31 March 2010

Osprey pair is now a family of five. Have been monitoring and photographing the female and male since early November. Based on changes in behavior at the nest, it is likely the eggs hatched between 3/12 and 3/15. I was out of town last week so my first viewing of the new hatchlings was on 30 March. Mom keeps bringing new branches to build up a guard rail that makes it pretty tricky to see the new arrivals. She is also tenderly feeding all three, good news for the last to arrive since they are often neglected or badgered by the older siblings. First two photos were taken in the morning from north of the nest. Third was an afternoon visit viewed from the west.

 

BTW, the male does all of the fishing at this stage.

-GD

 

Family portrait

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Three open mouths

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A delicate landing

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Edited by Team Gecko
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April 7

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April 8

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April 19

Curious about whether or not the stadium lights were on under the nest, I swung by after a night caching trip and caught the juveniles flapping in the rain. Although there is continual noise from planes on the takeoff flight path, crowds at softball games and equipment used at the recreation center below, the three juveniles only perk up in response to a siren or rainfall.

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April 21

Rapidly growing juveniles make for a crowded nest. Today the female parent flew over toward <<< A GREAT BIRD WATCHING SPOT >>> (GC17NF7) returning just three minutes later to deposit a small fish. Perched just outside the nest, she continually turns to watch as her young feed themselves. The previous days visit, I observed as she constantly fed her young for more than an hour.

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Edited by travelita
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April 23

 

First time I’ve seen photogs here. Odd to see them leave before the light play. If only I had their equipment. Cool catching the male and female adults together on the nest.

 

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One photog I spoke with was dubious about my seeing one fly so early. He’d heard someone saw poop-proof flying out the center of the nest on 3/19. Since he’d been watching 2 or 3 times daily and had seen nesting action at Robb Field for the past five seasons I got online and did the math. Still think it’s a fledgling that flew and I invited him to check out geocaching.com and the forum.

 

Info from outdooralabama.com Ospreys are capable of breeding at 3 years of age. They pair and mate for life and may use the same nest year after year. Incubation process takes approx. 40 days. Within a month the chicks reach 80 percent of their adult size. The young fledge between 48 to 65 days of age and soon afterwards take their first flight and begin to hunt on their own. The parents still provide food for several weeks. The young migrate individually and are independent of adults by migration time. Some Osprey have been recorded to exceed a life span of 20 years.

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